Published by Cosmic Teapot Publishing on August 1st 2017
Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster.
Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above.
Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.
Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.
Inspiration for Interpretation
As a media arts teacher, every year in March I supervise a group of high school students that compete in a skills competition in southern Ontario, Canada. Last year, while sitting on a bus, a few of them started to discuss their favorite scenes from science fiction movies. Some of them were surprising – scenes from Soylent Green, the original Planet of the Apes, Total Recall, and the Matrix. To name a few.
And that’s where my mind began to wander. I was a pretty big fan of the Matrix. Originally, I enjoyed the movie for its fresh cinematics (which have been re-hashed to death at this point), but its lasting power, in my mind, is because of the Cartesian philosophy that drove the story. The complex question of what is illusion versus what is real. I’ve always been someone who comes back to this question. And their conversation brought me back to ask it again.
I started thinking about different scenarios where we wouldn’t be able to decipher the difference between what’s real and what’s illusion, which led me to write a short descriptive piece while on the bus. You can read the original chapter on Cosmic Teapot here. I liked what I wrote, so I outlined the rest of the book. I had the entire story mapped out (I later made a number of alterations, but that’s to be expected) within two days. Considering that it took me nearly a year just to decide on the story for my previous novel, Operation Cosmic Teapot, I felt accomplished. I finished the first draft of Interpretation in under a year.
A number of dystopian classics also inspired me. I wanted, in some ways, to write an homage to Nineteen Eighty-Four. I wanted to include little easter eggs from Brave New World. And the barren wasteland that the protagonist, Carl Winston, enters is inspired by The Road.
But the biggest source of inspiration came when I happened to come across a man named Dr. Jose Delgado. Dr. Delgado was a neurobiologist who researched physical mind control devices. He even implanted some of these devices in animals’ heads, the most significant being a bull. This man went as far as to say, “The individual may think that the most important reality is his own existence, but this is only his personal point of view. This lacks historical perspective. Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electronically control the brain. Someday armies and generals will be controlled by electric stimulation of the brain.”
I started to wonder what logical ends this kind of thinking could produce, which is where the story really took off. Not only with the ‘what if’ of having a civilization with mind control devices implanted in them, but also ‘what if’ other psychological experiments were brought to their extreme ends.
But back to the beginning. I wish I knew who those students on the bus were. They were from a different school and I had never met them before. I wasn’t a part of their conversation but it was the moment that sparked this book. I’d definitely like to thank them for that.